Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada lies the picturesque town of Canmore. Known for its stunning natural beauty, abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, and laid-back lifestyle, this charming mountain town has become a popular destination for those seeking a peaceful and active life in the Rockies.

If you’re considering living in Canmore, or simply curious about what life is like in this mountain paradise, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know.

Cost of living

Housing costs in Canmore are high due to a combination of factors, including the town’s popularity as a tourist destination, limited housing supply, and high construction costs. As a result, the average price of a single-family home in Canmore is over $1 million, making it difficult for many residents to afford to purchase a home in the town. Additionally, the rental market in Canmore is competitive, with limited availability of affordable rental properties.

The cost of groceries in Canmore is also relatively high compared to other cities in Canada. This is partly due to the town’s location in the Rocky Mountains, which makes it more difficult and expensive to transport goods to the area. However, there are a variety of grocery stores and specialty food shops in Canmore, providing residents with a range of options for purchasing food and household items.

The living wage in Canmore for 2022 is $32.75 per hour. This is calculated based on three different household scenarios, including a family of four with two incomes and two children, a lone parent with one income and one child, and a single individual with one income. The family of four scenarios has a higher living wage of $36.15 per hour, while the lone parent and single individual scenarios have living wages of $47.15 and $29.00 per hour, respectively.

canmore snowshoeing
Image by Victor Aerden via Wapiti Sports

Employment opportunities

The town’s economy is primarily driven by tourism, and there are many jobs available in the hospitality and service sectors, including restaurants, hotels, and resorts. Other industries that are prominent in Canmore include retail, healthcare, construction, and education.

In addition to traditional employment opportunities, there are also many opportunities for self-employment and entrepreneurship in Canmore. The town has a thriving arts and culture scene, and there are many local artisans and small business owners who have found success in the area.

For those interested in outdoor recreation, there are also employment opportunities in the outdoor industry. Canmore is surrounded by mountains and is home to several ski resorts and outdoor recreation companies, providing opportunities for jobs in areas such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and mountaineering.

Overall, Canmore offers a diverse range of employment opportunities for those looking to work in a beautiful mountain town. Job seekers can find opportunities in various industries and can explore both traditional and self-employment options.

Outdoor recreation

Canmore is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with countless opportunities for hiking, biking, skiing, and snowboarding. The town’s location in the Rocky Mountains means that residents have easy access to some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in the world.

In the summer months, visitors and residents alike can enjoy hiking and mountain biking on the many trails that crisscross the surrounding mountains. Canmore is home to over 70 kilometres of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks up steep mountainsides. Some of the most popular hikes in the area include Ha Ling Peak, Lady Macdonald, and the Grassi Lakes Trail.

Mountain biking is also a popular summer activity, with trails ranging from beginner to advanced.

For those seeking a more adrenaline-fueled adventure, Canmore offers white-water rafting on the nearby Kananaskis River. The rapids range from class I to class IV, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters.

In the winter months in the bow valley, skiing and snowboarding are the main attractions, with three world-renowned ski resorts; Banff Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise which are all located within an hour’s drive of Canmore. Skiing and snowboarding are not the only winter sports available, however. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice-climbing are all popular winter activities in the area.

quarry lake
Image by Katie Goldie Travel Alberta

Community events

Canmore has a strong sense of community, and there are many events and festivals that take place throughout the year. In addition to the Canmore Folk Music Festival and the Canmore Winter Carnival, the town also hosts a range of other events, such as the Canmore Highland Games and the Canmore Uncorked Food Festival.

These events offer residents living in Canmore and visitors the opportunity to connect with each other and celebrate the town’s unique culture and heritage.

Some of the most popular events in Canmore include:

Canmore Winter Carnival: This annual event takes place in February and features ice carving, skating, and other winter activities.

Canmore Uncorked Food Festival: Held in April, this festival celebrates local food and drink with tastings, cooking demonstrations, and other food-related events.

Canmore Folk Music Festival: This three-day music festival takes place in July and features a variety of folk and roots music acts.

Canmore Highland Games: Held in August, this event celebrates Scottish culture with Highland dancing, bagpipes, and other traditional Scottish activities.

In addition to these larger events, Canmore also hosts a variety of smaller community events throughout the year, including art exhibitions, outdoor movie nights, and farmers’ markets. These events offer a great opportunity for residents and visitors to connect with the community and enjoy the unique culture of Canmore.


Canmore’s schools are known for their high academic standards and their focus on outdoor education. The town’s location in the Rocky Mountains provides students with unique opportunities to learn about and explore the natural world.

Canmore has a range of schools for students of all ages, from preschool to high school.

The Canmore Preschool Society offers a play-based program for children aged 3-5 years old.

There are three elementary schools in Canmore: Lawrence Grassi Middle School, École Notre-Dame des Monts, and Elizabeth Rummel School. These schools offer programs for children from kindergarten to grade six.

Canmore also has one middle school, Canmore Collegiate High School, which offers programs for students in grades 7-12.

In addition to these public schools, there are also private schools and alternative education options available in Canmore.

Canmore is part of the Canadian Rockies Public School Division, which is responsible for managing the public schools in the area. The division focuses on providing high-quality education and ensuring that all students have access to a safe and inclusive learning environment.

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Canmore has a range of healthcare services available to residents and visitors in the area.

Canmore General Hospital is a 24-hour emergency and acute care hospital that offers a range of medical services, including laboratory and diagnostic imaging services, rehabilitation services, and surgical services. The hospital has a team of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who provide high-quality care to patients.

In addition to the hospital, there are also several medical clinics and family physicians in the area that offer primary care services, such as routine check-ups and medical consultations.

Canmore also has a number of specialists, including dentists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, and massage therapists, who offer a range of specialized healthcare services to residents and visitors.

The town also has a number of pharmacies and other healthcare facilities that provide access to medications and other healthcare products.

Overall, Canmore offers a range of healthcare services to meet the needs of residents and visitors in the area, including emergency and acute care, primary care, and specialized healthcare services. The town is committed to providing high-quality healthcare to its residents and visitors, and continues to invest in the healthcare infrastructure to meet the evolving healthcare needs of the community.


Canmore is a small town, and many residents choose to walk or bike to get around. The town also has a public transit system that connects residents to neighbouring communities such as Banff.

Canmore is located just off the Trans-Canada Highway, which provides easy access to other parts of Alberta and British Columbia. The town is approximately an hour’s drive from Calgary, making it easy to access the amenities and services of a larger city.

Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, AB
Image by Ryan Creary via Plaid Goat


Canmore’s climate is characterized as semi-arid, which means that it is dry with relatively low humidity. This climate pattern results in hot summers and cold winters, with significant temperature fluctuations throughout the year. The winter season in Canmore typically lasts from November to March and can bring snow and ice storms, with temperatures that can drop as low as -30°C (-22°F). As a result, residents and visitors need to be prepared for harsh winter weather conditions, including dressing in warm clothing, wearing appropriate footwear, and ensuring that their vehicles are equipped with winter tires.

During the summer months, temperatures in Canmore can reach as high as 30°C (86°F) but are generally cooler than in other parts of Alberta due to the town’s high elevation. The summer season is typically from June to August and is characterized by sunny days and cool evenings. This mild climate provides perfect conditions for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and rafting. However, it is important to be prepared for sudden changes in weather, as mountain weather can be unpredictable and change quickly.

Overall, Canmore’s climate offers a unique experience for residents and visitors alike, with hot summers and cold winters providing ample opportunities for a variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the year. However, it is essential to stay prepared for sudden weather changes, especially during the winter months, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the town.


One of the best things about living in Canmore is the sense of community that residents feel. The town is home to a diverse mix of people, including families, retirees, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Canmore’s community is diverse and welcoming, with residents from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. The town’s location in the heart of the Rockies attracts people from around the world who share a passion for outdoor recreation and a love of nature. This mix of people creates a unique and vibrant community where different perspectives and experiences are celebrated.

Many residents of Canmore are outdoor enthusiasts, who enjoy hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities. This shared interest in outdoor recreation provides a common bond that brings people together and fosters a sense of community. Additionally, the town’s many community events and festivals offer residents the opportunity to connect with each other and celebrate the town’s unique culture and heritage.

Whether you are a family, retiree, or single person, Canmore has something to offer everyone. The town’s diverse community is one of its greatest strengths, providing a welcoming and inclusive environment where residents can feel at home.

Lake louise skiing
Image by John Price via Travel Alberta


Canmore’s restaurant scene offers a diverse range of dining options that cater to a variety of tastes and budgets.

Some of the most popular restaurants in the area include Fergus & Bix and The Iron Goat, which offer Canadian cuisine and locally brewed beer, as well as Crazyweed Kitchen, which offers a unique blend of Asian, French, and Canadian flavours.

Other notable restaurants in Canmore include Sage Bistro & Wine Lounge, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co., and Communitea Cafe, which offer a range of options from organic pizza and salads to healthy and organic food options, as well as extensive wine and tea list.

In recent years, Canmore has also become a hub for craft beer lovers. The town is home to several microbreweries, including the Canmore Brewing Company, which offers a range of unique brews, and the Grizzly Paw Brewing Company, which produces traditional beers and sodas.

Overall, Canmore’s restaurant scene showcases the town’s unique mountain culture and focus on locally sourced ingredients, providing visitors and residents alike with a diverse range of dining experiences.

Visa options for living in Canmore

To reside in Canmore, it is necessary to obtain the appropriate visa unless you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

If you wish to live in this vibrant city, you can apply for a temporary work permit. International Experience Canada also offers a Working Holiday Visa for youth from over 30 countries. In cases where local staff cannot be found for an open position, an employer can obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to issue the required permit.

For those seeking permanent residency in Calgary, various options are available. The Express Entry system provides skilled immigration programs, such as Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Federal Skilled Trades stream. Additionally, the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) offers provincial immigration options for workers, graduates, and entrepreneurs interested in settling in Calgary permanently.


Living in Canmore, Alberta offers a unique and rewarding experience for those who value outdoor recreation, natural beauty, and a strong sense of community. While the cost of living in Canmore may be higher than in other small towns, the town’s abundant recreational opportunities, stunning natural scenery, and high quality of life more than makeup for it.

Whether you’re looking to retire, start a family, or live an active lifestyle, Canmore offers something for everyone. With its world-class skiing and snowboarding, hiking and biking trails, and diverse community, Canmore is an ideal place to call home.

Nicola Wightman

Nicola Wightman is a regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) under the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC). Her professional immigration consultant number is R706497.

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